Campaigner seeks change to medical education -

Campaigner seeks change to medical education –

Campaigner seeks change to medical education -

British Medical Association urges ministers to reconsider drop from admissions – Asian doctors have slashed average wait times by 55% in 10 years

Twenty-seven year old British Medical Association (BMA) secretary and medical student, with a passion for acting, Shaan Doshi has become the face of an international campaign which calls for a change in British Medical School admissions policy that might ultimately change the face of medicine as we know it.

One thing Doshi wants to do is change the face of medicine. The Bangladeshi-born son of doctors from Chennai and Dhaka, he wants to be in touch with his heritage and this desire for cultural engagement is reflected in his new-found desire to make a change. “My closest relationship with my culture is just on set filming, seeing my clothes on a never-ending loop and learning the alphabet and numbers,” says Doshi.

The problem? Undergraduate medical courses take up two years, but Doshi only has twelve months to graduate and pass the Licentiate of Medicine (LMP). Unable to afford a private place on the NHS, he will attend the Cambridge School of Medicine and Dentistry to complete his medical studies in 2017. “It is nothing new that medical education is too expensive. However, this policy of cramming four years of academics into two is no longer suitable in a world of dwindling social and economic resources.”

The Association says that the issue of costs is “better discussed when we have enough people in medicine to support themselves, rather than a handful of doctors struggling to pay their debts.” Says Dr Tony Foster, British Medical Association chairman: “This year every medical school has a record application but not enough places to go around.”

But in 2009, Indian graduate, Dr Anurag Shukla, successfully opened a UK medical school in Cardiff. This provided an alternative post-study option for over 900 medical students from around the world, bringing their fees down from £31,000 for four years to £12,300 for three years. UK Minister for Skills, Universities and Science, Lord Willetts has written to Professor Angelina Guy, Chairman of London Medical School, calling for this scheme to be replicated. Shukla – who describes the school as being “unique” in UK – says, “It’s amazing, when you think that hundreds of graduates have been given this chance, and it has allowed medical students to better prepare for medical school.”

An autumn-centred university, the London Medical School created the unique concept of a medical school which meets the demands of NHS patients by offering in-house nursing and therapy. With 34 schools operating within a 200 kilometre radius, this includes the options of college-based education, evening learning, rural pathways and an innovative web-based portal which allows students to learn and learn to learn.

Although the UK medical education system is changing rapidly, Shukla said the campaign could have an important impact on changes to NHS healthcare that affect us all. “The spread of medical knowledge means that one cannot ignore what is happening elsewhere.”

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